As if to show that putting the boot into the Guardian is a live, if pointless, pursuit within the right leaning part of the blogosphere, the reaction to the latest news on the Phonehackgate front has brought a piece of typically self-important bluster from one Phil Hendren, who blogs under the alias of Dizzy Thinks. This is doubly misleading, as he is not called Dizzy, and rarely shows much sign of thinking before posting.
Hendren is clearly concerned at the Guardian article that names convicted private investigator Jonathan Rees, so he has set out to show that the paper is rubbish and he is much cleverer. In attempting so to do, he suggests that the paper believes Rees’ recent trial to be key, a very big deal. This is typical Hendren: shouting “look over there” so that his readers will not see the more prosaic reason: the trial meant that Guardian man Nick Davies was unable to name Rees.
And he fails to take on board the obvious point, that not only did the Screws re-employ Rees after he had done time for planting evidence, but also that Rees was part of the “supply chain” of dubiously sourced information feeding major stories – a source that a hands-on editor, as Andy Coulson was held to be, should have been aware of.
Moreover, Hendren appears not to have noticed that all the howls of “non story” that he and others in the right leaning part of the blogosphere have been throwing out, as in a smokescreen, have not stopped Phonehackgate rumbling on, with more victims, journalists and informants being revealed along the way, along with Coulson’s recent resignation.
But the most delicious twist has been in the timing: Hendren posted his dismissal of the Guardian position before 0800 on Sunday, while, seemingly unknown to him, the BBC had an edition of Panorama ready to screen the very next day (to be broadcast on BBC1 at 2030 hours this evening). This programme unearths yet another informant, and implicates another senior executive at the Screws, Alex Marunchak.
The more that Hendren and his fellow Guardian kickers dismiss the paper’s efforts, the more the story comes back to bite them. Part of this is down to the knee-jerk reaction of trying to paint the affair as “right versus left”, rather than calling it for what it is – acts of straightforward criminality. Another part of the right’s problem is that they appear not to understand the Grubstreet maxim of “dog doesn’t eat dog”, so see the lack of coverage elsewhere as validating their stance.The result is that Phil Hendren ends up turning himself into an involuntary comedy turn for those of a left leaning or independent stance, and he should know that the more he tries to wish this one away, the more he will become the object of ridicule. But then, his blog does advertise “opinionated arrogance” in its header, so no-one should be surprised.